Men, we just aren't very good at taking care of ourselves, especially when we compare ourselves to women. We eat more, we drink more, and we don't exercise enough. Hell, we are so bad about the whole health and wellness thing that 70 percent of us are either overweight, or downright obese, versus 57 percent of our female brethren, according to The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation.
In my native state of West Virginia, the number skyrockets to 74.1 percent (Arkansas winning the state battle of the bulge, just by a belt notch at 74.5 percent).
As if that's not bad enough, we take much greater physical risks than women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention latest statistics. We are so unsafe, in fact, that unintentional injuries- those that occur without the intent to harm oneself (fires, car crashes, falling, etc.) -- are men's #3 cause of death after heart disease and cancer. For women, unintentional deaths is the #6 cause of death.
What's our problem, then, as men? Well, for one, we seem to be oblivious to the daily dangers that we face. I'm not sure if the reason is we are just trying to be macho, or more likely, we're just being plain ass stupid. Guys are certainly dumb when it comes to seeing a doctor. R Ridwan Shabsigh, head of the International Society of Men's Health and a urologist in New York City, claimed in a NBC News story that 40 percent of men in their 40s have never had a cholesterol test, and one third of us refuse to get an annual checkup.
My granddaddy died because he thought doctors were a waste of time. He was a farmer who lived in Eastern Shore Maryland, and was a physical specimen who was in "perfect health -- at least he thought so, anyway. Then, one day, out of the blue, he had a pain in his stomach that doubled him over. When Granddaddy went to the doctor, he found out that he had prostate cancer. Curable? Well, it was, IF he had been getting a regular checkup. But he hadn't. The cancer had metastasized, and he died just four months after his initial diagnosis.
My dad got diagnosed with prostate cancer a month before I was getting married. My wife and I spent our honeymoon with him during his operation at Johns Hopkins University hospital. Today, my dad is in perfect health, at 83. He outlived my marriage.
So what's the moral of this story? Guys, it's time for us to step up, for ourselves, and take better care of ourselves. I'm making a personal commitment, here and now, to do an intensive 60 days program to ultimate fitness. Here's one roadmap for you to follow, created by muscleandfitness.com, called 60 Days to Fit.
My goal is to be in the best shape I've ever been when my 21-year-old son graduates from Cal Berkeley on May 16, 60 days from now. Here's what I'm committing to in my personal 60 Days to Fit program:
Get my annual physical;
Don't eat meat, or any white foods -- dairy, bread, rice, sugar;
Exercise five or more times a week;
Meditate twice a day;
Sleep at least seven hours a day;
No alcohol (other than an assignment that I have to do about Scotch!). This includes St. Patrick's Day (and yes it's gonna be really hard to do, so you can kiss me, I'm Irish, on March 17);
After my 60-day journey, I will check back here at HuffPost with another blog, to share my results. If you want to follow my daily journey, just go to my Twitter feed, @jackanderson140.
Before I leave you today, I have one final call out to my fellow men, both here in the United States and around the world: What are you going to do, for yourselves, in the next 60 days, starting today? Please share with us what your plan is gonna be right here at You've Got Male.
So let the life-changing physical adventure for men begin.